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Dance to Health at Manhattan’s Broadway Bodies

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Dance to Health at Manhattan’s Broadway Bodies

The Broadway Bodies Class is Following Instructor Justina Ercole as she leads them in warm up exercises. (Mia Tommins)

The Broadway Bodies Class is Following Instructor Justina Ercole as she leads them in warm up exercises. (Mia Tommins)

The Broadway Bodies Class is Following Instructor Justina Ercole as she leads them in warm up exercises. (Mia Tommins)

The Broadway Bodies Class is Following Instructor Justina Ercole as she leads them in warm up exercises. (Mia Tommins)


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Instead of my usual routine of winding down with a cup of tea, this past monday I decided to crank up the music and put on my best dancing shoes in the middle of Manhattan. I am not talking about just any dancing shoes, but Broadway dancing shoes. At Broadway Bodies, a Manhattan dance class, attendees are invited to learn “high-energy choreography in an incredibly achievable way.” With this description in mind, I was more than hopeful for my 7:30 p.m class, titled “Showtunes: Hairspray, You Can’t Stop the Beat,” where I would dance my troubles away to this classic hit.

I booked the class on ClassPass, an app that provides access to yoga, strength training, barre and more at no cost with their one month trial option. As I entered the studio at 50 Lexington Avenue, I found myself jittery with nervous excitement. Those nerves were quickly forgotten as I heard “Defying Gravity” from the hit show “Wicked” playing accompained by many laughing and smiling faces.

The class was taught by performer and choreographer Justina Ercole. Ercole could not have been more enthusiastic, kind or welcoming if she tried. Although she is little in stature, she led the class with immense power, making it a more than fun experience for all.

Justina encouraged attendees to introduce themselves to one another before class started with a quick warmup. Creating an immediate sense of community and togetherness, dancers were ready to take on the choreography. Before teaching the first count of eight, Justina shared a phrase with the dancers which encompasses the amusing and enjoyable dynamic that spreads throughout Broadway Bodies studio. Ercole invited dancers to “FTC: F– the choreography,” which was met with bursts of laughter as well as some confusion: we were at a dance class, weren’t we?

Although Ercole was there to teach the choreography, she was also there to provide a welcoming, accepting environment which was one of the highlights of my experience there. Every attendee was truly happy to be there, not to mention the class was a blast!

Whether we were doing the choreography or making up our own steps, I felt the community vibe of Broadway Bodies that makes the class so special. When other groups were performing, we were singing along and cheering them on. When I performed, I felt like I was on top of the world because of the amount of love and support I received from people I had met just 30 minutes before. The people there were definitely the highlight of my time at Broadway Bodies, and Ercole agrees. She said one of her favorite parts about teaching at Broadway Bodies is the opportunity to share each week with such amazing, supportive, uplifting spirits.

If you’re thinking of trying out Broadway Bodies and are expecting a laid back, mellow hour, think again. The whole time, sweat dripped down my face; my heart constantly raced as we learned the steps and performed them in the mirror. Broadway Bodies serves to be not only a dance class, but also a great workout. It was truly eye- opening to see the athletic capability that Broadway performers need. Ercole recalled her experience when she began teaching at Broadway Bodies back in 2016. The first class she taught was a “Broadway Cardio” class which was “high intensity dance cardio.” If I was dripping with sweat in this class, I cannot even imagine how great of a workout that cardio class is!

The most unique aspect of Broadway Bodies was the accepting, exciting and energetic community. After a long, chaotic Monday, Ercole and the people in the class lifted my spirits faster than you can say “Good Morning Baltimore.”

I asked Ercole what she wished dancers got out of a class, and she said “pure joy.” There is no other way I could describe my experience at Broadway Bodies. “Especially being in New York City, we are expected to be so perfect all the time,” Ercole stated.

At Broadway Bodies, it does not matter if you do the choreography correctly, it does not matter if you mess up and it does not matter how you look. All that matters is that you feel the pure joy that Broadway Bodies is known for.

Ercole also said that Broadway Bodies prides itself on being a fitness studio, but unlike some others you might stumble upon in New York City, it is a particularly accepting fitness community that draws in guests who “wouldn’t usually go to the typical fitness studio.” At Broadway Bodies, you can find the “kindest, warmest, open people,” Ercole said.

I encourage all Fordham students who love musical theater, music in general, having fun or getting a great workout to make their way into the city and try out Broadway Bodies. Even if you have minimal dance or theater experience, Ercole advises to “get out of your head and come anyway.”

At Broadway Bodies, there are people who have “been dancing since they were kids and people who have never danced a day in their life however, everyone can come here and have fun,” Ercole said. On that Monday night, while dancing along to the Hairspray cast singing “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” you could not stop my joy.

By Mia Tommins

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Dance to Health at Manhattan’s Broadway Bodies